If gardening is a pastime you’ve enjoyed for many years, you’ve probably already discovered the wellness benefits that come from digging in the dirt. Decreased pain associated with osteoarthritis, reduction in stress, and increased flexibility are a few. Improved mental health is another. It’s definitely a hobby that is good for the body, mind, and spirit. Unfortunately, gardening can become a little more challenging as the years go by.
Aging sometimes puts older adults at greater risk for a fall or for a heat-related illness. If you like gardening but are struggling to complete the tasks you used to enjoy, these tips and tools may be of help.
Suggestions for the Senior Gardener
Here are a few ways you can continue to spend time in the garden as you grow older:
- Wake up your muscles: Remember that gardening is a physical activity. It’s important to stretch and warm up your muscles and joints before heading outdoors to get to work. This is especially true if you prefer to tend to your plants in the early morning hours when your body is still waking up. These exercises from AARP might help you prevent garden-related injuries.
- Raise your beds higher: If one of your struggles is difficulty getting up and down from the ground, raised beds, window boxes, and containers might be an ideal solution. They can be set waist or hip high to allow you to grow flowers and vegetables at a height that is most comfortable.
- Adapt your garden space: Make it easier to take rest breaks while gardening by placing benches and chairs throughout the garden. This is an inexpensive solution that can help prevent falls among older gardeners.
- Switch to a wagon: Many gardeners rely on a wheel barrow to transfer plants and tools around the garden. They are also easy to store during the winter. The downside is the lifting and pushing can be tough on aging backs and knees. It might be better and safer to switch to a wagon instead. They are less difficult to move around the garden, especially if you choose one with sturdier wheels.
- Invest in long-handled garden tools: Another safe tip for older gardeners is to use garden tools with long handles. This can help to avoid getting up and down from the ground so often. You can find everything from garden trowels to hoes with longer handles. These suggestions from the Arthritis Foundation can help you start your collection.
- Paint garden tool handles: If you are like many older adults, vision loss might make it more difficult to locate tools once you set them down in the grass or flower beds. One idea to consider is to paint the handles on your tools a bright color like yellow, hot pink, or orange. It will make them easier to spot among the grass and other greenery.
- Learn about dehydration: Finally, remind yourself that older adults are frequently at higher risk for heat-related illnesses, including dehydration. Recognizing Dehydration Symptoms in a Senior is a good article to review before summer gardening season arrives.
It’s More Fun at Sunrise
Gardening is just one of the many activities residents can participate in every day. From fine arts to yoga, meditation, and community outings, life is more fun at Sunrise Senior Living. We invite you to see for yourself by booking a tour at a Sunrise location near you!